Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Writing (or not)


I have a short story due on Tuesday, and I can't decide if the things I've done this morning are a way of making space mentally and physically to write or a way of avoiding the writing.

I have done a load of laundry or two, made my bed, checked my mail, wrapped two presents, thrown away dead flowers and food that has been in the refrigerator too long, swept and mopped the kitchen floor, loaded the dishwasher, wiped down the counters.

All of this could be a way of putting off writing because I have no idea what to write. Or it could be a way of clearing out the literal and figurative cobwebs that are keeping my creativity at bay.

Something else that may be getting in the way though. I got a story back yesterday from my writing teacher. She said it was the best thing I've written. On the pages there are many check marks, "hilarious" and other positive comments, and at the end this: "Brilliant!" And I'm afraid that I can't live up to that, and nothing I have come up with so far seems good enough.

5 comments:

billie said...

Congrats on that wonderful feedback, Mamie!

I'm in a weird space with writing right now - I keep getting organized to write, and I keep thinking about the book, but I'm not really working on it as far as actually opening the document and reading/typing.

It feels like I'm holding the space for when the time is right. Which of course has value, quite a bit, but it's harder to tell myself it's okay to be holding the space instead of surging words.

They will come.

(the word verification for this comment just happens to be "bakin" - we must be bakin' something big. :)

The Purple Panda said...

My current writing situation is very much like Billie's -- lots of thinking, little typing. And I usually know when it's time to sit down and do it. Moreover, when I do, it flows pretty well. (I've also been mentally spent lately. The downside of teaching is that it takes up so much "psychic energy.")

As for the feedback from your writing teacher, well, that's terrific. Don't let it become the barrier of resistance, however. Even if your next story isn't as good as your first, it doesn't mean you've lost your talent, or your spark, or that the well has run dry. And the beauty of revision is that what isn't working now can come together tomorrow, next week, month, year, etc.

Regardless of whether your activities signify creative space cleaning or sneaky procrastination, it can only help you in the end. But, as my thesis advisor used to tell me when I was a grad student, "Sooner or later, the toilet is clean enough, and it's time to get to work."

And now, in the words of Jed Bartlet, "Break's over."
:)

P.S. Today's word verification: tockis -- sounds remarkably like a yiddish word meaning rear end...

mamie said...

Billie and Panda, Thanks for your wonderful words of wisdom. I spent lunch with two of my writing friends and one of them suggested something that I think I can go with.

And now, as you said, the toilet is clean and break's over!

G Liz said...

Mamie, listen to your other two blogging buddy comments...they are 'write on' :-)

And now for your photo...I LOVE IT! What a beautiful, peaceful image to see before going to bed.

MitMoi said...

Your writing is NOT a "flash in the pan". You're more of a slow cooker. That's good. You stew your ideas and with your rewriting add the perfect amounts of seasoning.

I have confidence your next dish will be SPECTACULAR.

(mmmwhahahah - I have no homework!)
:( I haven't been writing much either.

word verification "conliva" I think it's Spanish for "with life"!